It’s almost 1940 for US Census online!

It's your America! c. 1940 Bureau of the Census (Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C.)

For those of us who spend time researching our forebears on Ancestry Island and other places in that particular archipelago, April 2nd is a big deal because that’s when the 1940 US Federal Census will be released online and for free by the National Archives beginning at 9:00 am EDT. (Due to privacy concerns, individual census records are made public after 72 years.) The National Archives has some great videos about that census, including an introduction to the upcoming release and the original training film from 1940.

I was too young to be included in this census, but my parents and grandparents will be on several of the 3.9 million pages that make up its records. For how to research your own family, here’s the place to start. Note that the released records are only indexed by enumeration district at this point.

My daughter and I have volunteered to help index the 1940 census as part of a community effort to make freely available to everyone the records of these Americans who had just survived the worst of the Great Depression and were soon to be engulfed in World War II.

Upon its release, the 1940 U.S. Census Community Project, a joint initiative between, FamilySearch,, and other leading genealogy organizations, will coordinate efforts to provide quick access to these digital images and immediately start indexing these records to make them searchable online with free and open access.

To get you in the mood, here is a list of some of the hit songs from 1940.